Are they skipping over me?
“Did I say something that caused them to delay responding to my text?”
They’re going to end things with me.
“I’m going out of this room. They don’t seem to care about me at all.
These are the kinds of things that a person who is anxiously attached could think. Let’s take a closer look at what an anxious attachment is before we go any further into what it means to have one.
Anxious attachment: What it is?
Anxious attachment relationships, also known as ambivalent partnerships, are characterized by a worry that one’s desire for intimacy will not be reciprocated by the other person.
People who have anxious attachments are concerned about the responsiveness and availability of important others, such as parents, friends, and love partners.
Such people yearn for closeness but continue to wonder if other romantic partners will satisfy their emotional needs. They may experience anxiety when given independence and autonomy.
Additionally, if they believe that others’ expressions of appreciation and value are fake or fall short of the required standard of responsiveness, they may become upset.
Signs of Anxious attachment
Anxious attachment can appear in people of any age, including children and adults. When separated from their primary caregiver, a kid who has acquired an uneasy connection to that caregiver may appear to have heightened levels of anxiety. Additionally, it may be difficult to console them after the caregiver has returned.
A person who has an uneasy attachment as a child may need their partner to provide them with ongoing reassurance and affection as they become adults. They may also have difficulty being by themselves or being single.
Indications of anxious attachment in Adults
Anxious attachment type in adults might manifest as:
- Lack of trust in other people
- Lack of confidence
- Concerns that your significant other will walk away from you
- Seeking or needing closeness or connection
- Having an unhealthy reliance on others
- Needing constant reinforcement from loved ones that they care
- Being unduly affected by a partner’s behavior and emotions
- Having extreme feelings, acting erratically, being cranky, and so on.
Anxious attachment in adults and young adults has been linked to an increased incidence of anxiety disorders.
What causes anxious attachment?
It’s possible that those who have an anxious attachment style were raised in a setting where their caregivers were not always consistent in satisfying their demands. Or, at the very least, the needs haven’t been met the way they (as a youngster) desired by the caregivers. Many different explanations could apply.
For instance, it’s possible that the caregiver misread the child’s cues. Or maybe they weren’t sure what kind of parenting approach to use. So, they alternated between at times being kind and comforting and at other times letting the child soothe themselves.
As a result, the youngster could be uncertain about what to expect from their caregiver. Will they react when they are needed? Or will they cease paying attention? Anxious and depressed feelings begin to overwhelm the child.
They eventually resort to self-regulation by having tantrums, being difficult to comfort, and appearing too dependent. Acting in this way increases the likelihood that their caregiver will pay attention to them, which will lessen their unpleasant emotions since they find comfort in being close to them.
Recognizing your own anxious attachment
Although self-diagnosis of anxious attachment might be challenging, there are several indicators to keep an eye out for. One characteristic shared by those who suffer from chronic abandonment anxiety is a need for ongoing reassurance from romantic partners. Relationship concerns such as distrust and an aversion to closeness and rejection are common. Those who suffer from anxious attachment may react strongly to negative feedback, become emotionally and physically dependent on others, and have difficulty managing their feelings and ideas.
Anxiety can cause bodily symptoms like sweating and palpitations, as well as mental ones like feelings of insecurity and jealousy in relationships and difficulty setting boundaries. It’s typical to feel like one is always giving more to the relationship than their partner, and to think that being in a relationship is essential to feeling safe. Those who suffer from anxious attachment often idealize their relationships, fail to see their shortcomings, and place their self-worth on their relationship status.
A history of turbulent or tumultuous relationships is another indicator that an individual suffers from anxious attachment. They may have problems identifying and articulating their own needs and desires in relationships, which can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. Lastly, they may try to exert control over their partner to prevent being abandoned by them. A more secure attachment style and more rewarding relationships can result from learning to recognize and act upon these signals.
Recognizing your partner’s anxious attachment
Although it may be difficult, there are a few telltale signs that your partner may be struggling with anxious attachment. Those who suffer from anxious attachment need constant reassurance and attention from their significant others. They may also develop a need for constant attention and reassurance, leading to a dependent and clingy personality.
Anxious attachment individuals may have trust issues, exhibit jealous tendencies, and struggle with feelings of safety and security in their relationships. As a result, they may have extreme reactions to things like criticism and rejection. Sweating, trembling, and a racing heart are all physical manifestations of anxiety.
Those who suffer from anxious attachment may also have trouble with boundary setting and articulating their wants and requirements. They could put their partner’s demands above their own and have a hard time speaking up for themselves out of shame or concern.
Supporting a spouse who struggles with anxious attachment can benefit from awareness of these indicators. It can also help you learn how to strengthen your bond with your partner and deal with the inevitable difficulties that will emerge in any relationship.
What triggers anxious attachment?
There are several potential triggers of anxious attachment. Experiencing trauma or neglect as a youngster is a common precipitating factor.
The following are some examples of how anxious attachment might be triggered:
- A partner who exhibits erratic behavior
- When a spouse arrives home later than anticipated
- When a partner appears uninterested or disengaged
- If a spouse overlooks significant occasions like anniversaries
- Partner isn’t calling or texting when this is anticipated
- A companion who ignores something
- When a partner appears to be disinterested, such as when they spend a lot of time on their phone or at work
- Not getting enough consideration
- Having disagreements
- Having one’s trust violated, as in discovering a partner has lied or broken a commitment
How to work through anxious attachment
Let’s dive in to know ways to fix anxious attachment.
You can be more inclined to have automatic reactions to negativity if you have an anxious attachment. However, becoming aware of these automatic reactions can help you come up with a more wholesome course of action.
Spend some time reflecting on your current feelings and any associated thoughts. Pay attention to your thoughts and the meaning you give them. The best course of action can then be decided.
You could even leave the scene before responding if you think this is too challenging. Before you come back to the situation, take a stroll to collect your thoughts.
To avoid offending someone’s sentiments, it’s extremely essential to practice being mindful of how you engage in relationships.
Control the nerve system
You may enter the fight, flight, or freeze response when you experience an anxious attachment. You are less able to think properly and more prone to act on impulses when you are in this mood. The most effective way to deal with this is to alter your physiology.
Pause for a moment and breathe deeply. To connect with the breath, you may even place your hands on your tummy. This will let your brain know that you are safe.
Doing something grounded while you’re feeling anxious can also help you feel less trapped in your thoughts. You can feel more grounded by engaging in exercise, yoga, receiving a massage or taking a walk outside in the fresh air.
Bring forth the child within you
Healing your inner child, who first went through an anxious attachment, can frequently be helpful. Giving yourself the love, encouragement, and kindness, you did not experience as a child will help you achieve this.
Be kind to yourself, accept responsibility for your actions, check in with yourself, and soothe yourself if necessary. This is similar to treating oneself with kindness as you would a helpless kid.
Try to set aside some time each day to take care of yourself. To relieve your worry, stick with it.
Stress and anxiety can be lessened by indulging in self-care activities like your hobby, a lengthy bath, or your favorite TV program.
Self-care can also help people develop the resilience and self-worth they need to deal with worry.
Outwardly express your emotions
Strong emotions can sometimes be managed healthily by letting go of your thoughts and channeling them into something important. This could be communicated through the production of art, movement, or music.
Keeping a diary is a good way to express your feelings and can also reveal trends in your thinking and behavior.
You may even write in your diary from the viewpoint of your inner kid, noting their needs and reasons for being sad.
The inner child can then read your writing from the perspective of an empowered adult self and receive insight, healing, and guidance.
Modify your mental processes
This method, often referred to as cognitive reframing, alters your way of thinking to help you become more adept at self-regulation. You may accomplish this by jotting down all of your unfavorable ideas and feelings as they come to mind.
Next, make an effort to refute these assumptions by reviewing opposing evidence. Someone with an anxious attachment style, for instance, could believe, “If I tell my partner how I really feel, they’ll leave me.”
Remember a moment when you did express your feelings to your lover; did they leave? Most likely not, right? Once you are aware of this, you can replace your negative idea with a more positive one.
It may sound something like, “I let them see what I felt in the past and they’re still here.” Based on the realities of your connection, this will assist you in controlling your negative feelings and ideas.
An individual with an anxious attachment style may try to control their unpleasant emotions by yelling at or seducing their spouse, or by clinging to them to rekindle their intimacy.
To communicate effectively, you must pause between your feelings of annoyance or fear and your action. Making up mental dialogue like “I know you may not understand why I’m upset, but here’s why I feel anxious_________” or “I know you didn’t mean to ignore my call, but it made me feel worried. “Your partner might be able to grasp your anxious attachment perspective without feeling isolated.
Additionally, you should make an effort to express your needs to your partner since you might be accustomed to putting the needs of others before your own.
This method enables us to take a breath and create a buffer between our sentiments and our quick responses to them. Being mindful is being conscious of where we are and what we are doing at all times.
As you get better at it, you’ll be able to feel more at ease and composed rather than angry, needy, or clingy.
Not everyone will be able to control their anxious attachment style’s characteristics on their own. After all, before individuals were able to express their emotions verbally, their ways of thinking and behaving were imprinted.
You can create a new model for how healthy relationships should work through effective counseling, which can also assist you in resolving problems from your current relationships and relationships from your early years.
What to do if the person you love has an anxious attachment style
A person with an anxious attachment type experiences severe anxiety over being rejected and abandoned. An anxious attacher may focus on what they view as a threat to their connection to avoid what they perceive to be inevitable—their spouse leaving them—because they feel unworthy of love.
The self-esteem of anxious partners might be further damaged by their protest behaviors, such as outbursts of rage directed towards their partner, or by the way they internalize their negative emotions and turn self-critical.
Understanding how to interact with a partner who exhibits anxious attachment features in a way that makes them feel loved and secure can be challenging given the characteristics of the anxious attachment style.
In a love relationship, the following advice may help you meet your partner’s needs while also calming their anxious attachment:
Assist your anxious partner in setting up appropriate boundaries
Talk to your partner honestly and openly about how you can make them feel safe in the relationship while also establishing healthy boundaries. Once you’ve done that, try to consistently enforce these limitations.
Motivate them to seek out counseling
Encourage your nervous partner to seek professional assistance if they are unable to control their strong emotions on their own. A qualified therapist can assist children in processing their early experiences and provide them with the skills necessary to control their thoughts, feelings, and ability to express their needs to others.
To work jointly to tackle any attachment-related issues in the relationship, you may even attempt couples counseling.
For someone with an anxious attachment type, inconsistent behavior is a big trigger and may even spark jealousy. Your overly attached spouse may feel safer and more supported in the relationship if you often let them know how important they are to you and that you’re there for them.
Pay attention to their worries
Allowing your partner to express their worries can help them recognize the limitations in their thinking. Validate your partner’s feelings while simultaneously refuting the story that contributed to their anxiety and insecurity. Provide them with proof to the contrary, such as the fact that you have always been there for them and will continue to be, so they have no reason to believe otherwise, or gently point out errors in their thought processes.
To sum up, anxiety, insecurity, and emotional reactivity are all symptoms of anxious attachment, which can have serious consequences in love partnerships. Individuals can take measures toward managing their emotions and developing a more secure attachment style if they are aware of the signs and triggers of anxious attachment.
Early experiences, relational challenges, stressful life events, negative self-talk, partner conduct, and unhealed emotional wounds can all contribute to the development of anxious attachment.
Individuals with anxious attachment can benefit from therapy, the use of mindfulness and communication practices, and efforts to improve self-esteem. It may take some time and work, but developing a safe attachment style can pay off in the form of happier, healthier relationships.